CMSC 858V Quantum control, Metrology and Error mitigation for Algorithm Deployment, Fall 2023

Course Description

After over 30 years of research and engineering in controllable quantum devices, we are at the cusp of discovering the first real-world applications for quantum computing systems. A critical element that connects high-level applications to low-level quantum system designs is quantum control and metrology. The first part of our class covers the fundamentals of quantum control and metrology in both digital and analog domains:

  • Design and calibration of quantum gates, analog quantum operations, quantum state preparation, and measurement

  • Estimation, characterization, and mitigation of environmental noise

  • Synthesis of logical quantum circuits to physical quantum circuits for a given quantum hardware architecture

We focus on three leading quantum computing systems and their quantum control and metrology methods: superconducting qubits, ion trap qubits, and neutral atom qubits. The second part of the class connects quantum control and metrology to the deployment of quantum algorithms on near-term quantum computers. We will review some of the most successful quantum algorithms deployed on real quantum hardware while focusing on the necessary classical and quantum error mitigation techniques. This course provides further opportunities to explore the new frontier of hardware-efficient and hardware-centric quantum algorithm design.

Who should take this course?

Anyone who is interested to engage in quantum computing research in practice using a quantum computer to explore the above topics should take this course. However to facilitate the instruction it is expected that

  • you should be familiar with the fundamentals of quantum mechanics and computing, e.g., have taken CMSC 457, 657, or anything equivalent;

  • you should have some experience with any of the above relevant research fields, or should be at least willing and able to catch up by reading provided research papers;

  • this course is highly research oriented; ideally, you want to accomplish some original research, or at least identify some promising path toward an original research project, at the end of this course.

This course will involve the use of realistic quantum devices, some of which are already available through cloud access. It is expected the students will be able to implement some applications on these devices.

Format & Evaluation

This is an advanced graduate-level seminar course. Multiple topics, as listed in the syllabus page, will be covered in this course. Some basic topics will be delivered by the instructor, after which students are expected to take the initiative to read and present papers. It is expected that you read the corresponding references before all lectures, even if you are not presenting, for a more effective discussion.

Students are also expected to scribe lecture notes for the topics covered by the instructor. An important component of this course is a course project which will include a report and a final presentation.

A mid-term written exam on basic quantum control and quantum metrolog is required since this course receive a qualifying designation towards your degree.     

Your grade for this course will consist of

  • Note scribing: 10%, detailed instruction given in the lecture page;

  • Paper presentation: 15%, detailed instruction given in the lecture page;

  • Assignments: 15%. One coding assignment (due by 12/02/22);

  • Course project: 30%, detailed instruction given in the project page.

  • Exam: 30%. One take-home mid-term exam.

  • Lectures: TuTh 12:30am - 1:45pm.

  • Instructor: Prof. Murphy Yuezhen Niu
    Email: myniu (at)

  • Location: CSI 3118

  • Syllabus: check here

  • Office hours:

    • Extra time beyond the lecture by appointment.

Social Media

  • We use Piazza as the discussion forum. Piazza is FERPA-compliant in that it protects the privacy of students, keeps the information private, and is not searchable by search engines. In order to participate, all students are expected to register with an email address of their choice.

  • We use ELMS for submissions of assignments (note scribing and paper presentation) and projects and distributions of corresponding grades.

  • This website serves as the collection of information about the course, syllabus, handouts, and references. Please check frequently!

Academic Integrity

Note that academic dishonesty includes not only cheating, fabrication, and plagiarism but also includes helping other students commit acts of academic dishonesty by allowing them to obtain copies of your work. In short, all submitted work must be your own. Cases of academic dishonesty will be pursued to the fullest extent possible as stipulated by the Office of Student Conduct.

It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit For a complete treatment of course-related policies, please see:

Excused Absence and Academic Accommodations

Any student who needs to be excused for an absence from lectures should make a reasonable attempt to inform the instructor of his/her illness prior to the class. If there is any medical emergency, the instructor should be informed as soon as possible with official written documentation. Any student eligible for and requesting reasonable academic accommodations due to a disability is requested to provide a letter of accommodation from the Office of Disability Support Services within the first two weeks of the semester.

Inclusivity Statement

We understand that our members represent a rich variety of backgrounds and perspectives. The computer science department is committed to providing an atmosphere for learning that respects diversity. While working together to build this community we ask all members to:

  • share their unique experiences, values, and beliefs

  • be open to the views of others

  • honor the uniqueness of their colleagues

  • appreciate the opportunity that we must learn from each other in this community

  • value each other's opinions and communicate in a respectful manner

  • keep confidential discussions that the community has of a personal (or professional) nature

  • use this opportunity together to discuss ways in which we can create an inclusive environment in this course and across the UMD community

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